You should have a signed legal agreement when hiring someone regarding non-competition or direct theft of clients. This is something you can get from your lawyer.
There are several things that cause someone to leave your group and take your clients with them:
- They are outright unethical and it would not matter what you did they would still do it. If that is the case this means you blew it big time in the hiring process and you were not able to predict their behavior, or you saw bad indicators during their work and thought that they may be contemplating this, but you didn’t have the guts to really find the facts and then confront them.
- You are not operating your business with enough games, rewards, and penalties to keep the interest of a good employee. Therefore, they do not see any future and choose the option of going against you.
- There is an exterior influence to your employee not seen by you that is fomenting your staff member all up with their own. Either self-interest or outright evil intent towards you under the guise of, “Oh honey, you can do this yourself, look at all the money you are making for them that we could be making.” etc.
It is a free country and frankly even the non-compete does not apply in court.
Last, if you get ripped off, you can either devote tons of your time to defending yourself, but that is not the right target. The right one would be for you to pour the coals onto expansion in a big big way!